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10 Study Hacks for Getting Better Grades

10 Study Hacks for Getting Better Grades

You know as well as anyone else that not every method for studying works the same for everyone. However, there are a number of tips to use in order to study better and get better grades. Ideally, you will use these hacks for studying through the whole year, and not just when exams come around. Try not to overload yourself with trying them all at once though. That said, some can be used hand-in-hand.

1. Utilize Caffeine

Caffeine aids in kicking the brain into gear for studying. It is most beneficial when used in small breaks throughout studying, rather than in one huge dose prior to studying. This will ensure that your brain gets continual kick starts, as opposed to one huge jolt followed by a dramatic crash.

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2. Talk to your Teachers

These are the people that make all of your tests, so take the time to talk with them. You will be able to gain insight into how they are thinking, allowing you to study in a way that will benefit you when taking tests. It won’t hurt to ask your teachers what they will be looking for on the test and find out exactly what you will need to study.

3. Use Mnemonic Strategies

Making up your own allow you to remember sequences and key concepts with ease. This does take a bit of time, but creating your own mnemonic devices is the difference between active learning and passive learning. This strategy has proven to improve an individual’s ability to remember. If you don’t want to make up your own, search the internet for some that relate to the subject that you are studying.

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4. Chew Gum When Studying

Studies have shown that when you chew gum, your focus and concentration are boosted. Don’t stop there! You can also chew gum while you are taking a test or exam. This forms a connection in the brain that will help you remember what you studied while you were chewing gum. This kind of study hack is called context dependency.

5. Block Out Distractions

Aim to avoid extraneous activities on your computer, tablet, or phone while studying. Try to turn them off and place them in another room. If you don’t have enough self-restraint, there are free apps that will restrict your access to specified websites for a predetermined amount of time.

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6. Tackle it in Small Portions

When there is a large portion of information that needs to be learned, break it down into smaller, more manageable portions. Don’t do it all at once. Rather, you should aim to learn a different portion each day. Furthermore, do not start a new portion until you have the current one down.

7. Try Studying in a New Space

Aim to switch up where you study every day. When you change studying spaces, it will force your brain to form new memories each time, making it more likely that you will retain the new material.

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8. Read Your Notes Out Loud

Read them out loud to yourself, with a friend, or even to your cat. When you speak and hear the words, it will help to reinforce the material in a new way. When you find a partner, this study hack will benefit both of you.

9. Read Before the Lecture

This is the best way to get the most out of your classes. It will reinforce the material—twice. It will also help you answer questions that your teacher poses to the class.

10. Study with the Right Music

Unfamiliar music or ambient noise has the potential to boost productivity. Remember though, that familiar music has the potential to have the opposite effect. There are plenty of ways to find the right type of noise. Finding an internet radio station with instrumental music or video game soundtracks will do the trick.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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